It’s my America too

This week, we celebrate Independence Day here in the good ol US of A, because 243 years ago from this Thursday, a bunch of radical colonials decided they were tired of living under the tyrannical rule of England’s King George and declared enough was enough. They told George they were tired of his taxes and lack of voice in Parliament, and after a few tough years of whipping the asses of limey redcoats, they gained their freedom to operate as they saw fit. So, off we went as a new nation, making rules, refining them, defending them from threats at home and abroad, and living an experiment in democracy.

We unsuccessfully tried to divide the country in two during the Civil War and I hope folks will quit fighting that fight one day. We stopped hostile attempts to take over the world twice because those Germans were awfully persistent. We fought “police actions” in little known foreign lands that destroyed the minds and bodies of so many young men and women. We fought in the desert to topple a corrupt regime (because they had oil). And most recently, we’ve been at war for nearly 20 years battling terrorism around the world.

At home, we’ve struggled with equality, the idea that all men and women are created equally and have certain inalienable rights as was stated so prominently in our Constitution. That struggle included slavery and the people stolen from their homes, brought to the America, forced to work for no pay, and treated inhumanely. There was the fight for equality for women beginning with women’s suffrage. There was the fight for workers’ rights and child labor restrictions. There was the fight against robber barons and unfair business practices. There was the fight against poverty during the great depression. There was and is the fight for civil rights for all Americans based on race, sexual orientation, religion, and many other categories.

Through all the strife and troubles of our past, I think we’ve slowly but surely gotten things more right than wrong. However, we have a long way to go, and I’m confident that through all the societal hiccups and setbacks, we’ll continue to overcome issues from our past and new problems as they present themselves. We’ve proven ourselves to be a resilient people, and thank God I was lucky enough to land here.

It will come as no surprise to most folks who know me that I’m not a very conservative person, especially when contrasted against my fellow Southerners. I don’t agree with the vocal majority around here on issues of abortion, gun control, religious freedom, LGBTQ issues, climate change, civil rights, racism, immigration, assistance for the poor, healthcare, and lots of other issues. When I see images of the President hugging the flag or hear him spouting divisive nonsense, see anti-immigration protesters waving the flag, or hear people being interviewed as they await entry to some conservative political rally, it feels like that group is asserting that they’re more American than anyone who disagrees with them at the best and that their opposition hates America at the worst.

Just yesterday there was a story in my local news about some folks protesting outside a Barnes and Noble because the bookstore was turning children gay. In the picture there were three adults and a pre-teen child surrounded by signs calling down God’s thunder on the gay factory disguised as a bookstore. Among the rainbow colored poster boards the child must have colored judging by the level of artistic sophistication, one of the protesters was holding an American flag as if Uncle Sam had issued the protest order. I don’t bemoan their right to protest no matter how much I disagree, but it burns my biscuits when they act like they’re extra American because they hate gay people.

This is my America too. There’s enough room for all of us and our differences and the opportunity to express those differences openly and freely. (Although, I’m not opposed to making an exception for people that yell Roll Tide.) If you aren’t Native American, you came from somewhere else and assimilated into the undulating, ever-changing soup of cultures and ideas from around the world simmering and melding into the fragrant and flavorful concoction that is America.

This year, I’m gonna celebrate and be thankful I live in America where I don’t have to agree with all manner of things I don’t believe in order to be a patriotic American. So, huzzah to Uncle Sam, praise Jesus, pass the tater salad, and remember to wear eye protection during those bottle rocket wars!

Happy Independence Day to all y’all!

2 cats are worse than 1

I hate cats.

Growing up, I had dogs. Dogs are great. They love you and act like they love you. You can play games with dogs and teach them cool tricks. The only time my dogs ever bit me, they were puppies and just playing. Dogs can be helpful, too. Continue reading “2 cats are worse than 1”

Dog tired

When I was in my early teens, my grandparents were given a blue heeler (Australian cattle dog). He was a medium sized dog with a scruffy salt and pepper coat, and I thought he looked like he should be owned by a homeless person. He wasn’t anything you’d see and want to cuddle with. Continue reading “Dog tired”

I was the ballast and the hydration distribution engineer

I graduated from Brandon High School on the afternoon of Sunday, May 26, 1996, at the Jackson Municipal Auditorium. Once we all finished walking across the stage (with the exception of Mark who was on crutches after falling out of a tree while wearing a tutu a few nights before), I turned in my rented cap and gown and took pictures with my friends and family. Then, my fellow graduates and I  boarded charter buses and spent the next 15 hours going all over the metro area in order to prevent us from getting drunk and dying. We had a great time with good food, a band, dancing, and gambling until 7:00 the next morning. (Here’s the point where Mom and Dad should probably stop reading.) Continue reading “I was the ballast and the hydration distribution engineer”

They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.

It’s been a year since we lost him, and there’s still an empty place in my heart.

 

I’d just finished a couple chocolate chip cookies and was rolling past the phone on the wall by the kitchen door when it rang. Immediately, I knew there was bad news coming even though nobody had answered yet. Mom hopped up to grab it, and I continued down the hall as if I could run away from whatever it was. “How is he?” and, “What do I need to do?” were the two things I heard Mom say into the phone that let me know my premonition was accurate.

 

Continue reading “They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.”

Why Do I Dislike Tom Brady?

Let me count the ways… (from my Facebook this week)

  1. Tom Brady is Satan.
  2. Tom Brady vacations in Bangkok.
  3. Tom Brady uses orphan kids as landscape features in his garden.
  4. Tom Brady likes Trump.
  5. Tom Brady went out in public dressed like this :

tom Continue reading “Why Do I Dislike Tom Brady?”

Memphis, the Long-Eared Reindeer

This story was written a few years ago by my distant relative, Dr. E.O. Lester, about my great-grandfather. E.O. visits the blog from time to time, so if you enjoy this story, leave him a comment at the bottom of this page.

Continue reading “Memphis, the Long-Eared Reindeer”

Happy Anniversary

Pop and Maw

Today would’ve been the 71st.

A Christmas Haiku

Christmas Lawn Decorations

At night they stand tall,

Bloated and happy for all,

At daybreak they’re dead.

A thief gave me the world

I fought it. The symbol of weakness sat by itself in the guest room where I never went. Whenever I struggled to walk past the door, I purposefully averted my eyes, looking down or away. I did anything I could to avoid dealing with the wheelchair the young guy delivered in October of 2007. It was an ominous sign of my fading independence that I hated both for its invasion of my house and what it stood for.

Continue reading “A thief gave me the world”

Hey, Pop

Hey, Pop. I haven’t talked to you in a while, and I just want to say hi and see how you’re doing. I know you’re doing well, though.  Continue reading “Hey, Pop”

The Perfect Birthday Present

I completed my 41st year on the 30th of last month. Birthdays are usually a big event when you’re a kid. There’s cake and ice cream, presents from all your family members, parties with your friends, and you get to feel special for moving ahead and leaving all those other kids behind until they catch up to you at some point in the next year. Continue reading “The Perfect Birthday Present”